You may have recently purchased a squash racquet or maybe even pulled your old one out of a cupboard after not playing for some time and wondering if it is fine to play with it as is or if you should restring it. Some players restring their racquets as soon as they buy them, and others use them until the strings fray and snap, so is it worth restringing your squash racquet?
It is undoubtedly worth restringing your squash racquet; the issue with racquets when they are bought is that they often come with poor quality strings, and over time they lose their elasticity, and the likelihood of them snapping increases. So be sure to restring your racquet as often as needed.
Even if you only play infrequently, you should be restringing your squash racquet, and there is good reason. Additionally, one of the last things you want to endure, especially if you intend on competing in tournaments, is not to be able to rely on your strings and have the threat of them snapping looming over you. So be sure to read more about the habit of restringing your racquet.
How Often Should You Restring Your Squash Racket?
The frame of your racquet is an essential part of your squash equipment, but it does not end there; having a good racquet is one thing, but your strings also come into play. Just like a boxer needs both solid hands and suitable quality gloves, or a figure skater needs to have the right blades on their figure skates.
It is, therefore, a good idea not only to have the right and best strings for you personally, but also to restring your racquet as frequently as needed. As a general rule of thumb, you should either restring them yourself (which is only a good idea if you know what you are doing) or have them done professionally as many times per year as you play within a given week.
What Gauge (Thickness) Should You Get For Your Squash Racket?
When you start playing squash, one thing you should be aware of is what the gauge of strings means for your play. The gauge is simply the thickness of the strings, and although there are minuscule differences, it can affect your on-court performance.
You may prefer thinner strings if you want the most power out of your racquet; this is made possible by the strings stretching further when they make contact with the ball. They stretch further; therefore, when they recover from the stretch, they propel the ball forward with greater force. The only downside is that thin strings are susceptible to notching and overstretching.
Thicker strings offer greater ball control and may be the better option for newer players as they are still getting used to the game of squash. You will find that there are typically only two sizes of strings available for squash racquets, 17 and 18 gauges.
The 17 gauge string will have a diameter that sits between 1.16mm and 1.25mm, while the 18 gauge string goes from 1.06mm to 1.15mm. You must be sure that the strings you purchase fall into these diameters; otherwise, if they are not, you may have bought strings for tennis or racketball, which will not work for squash.
What Causes Squash Racket Strings To Snap Or Break?
Two leading causes of strings snapping are if you mis-hit the ball or if the ball makes contact with the racquet strings, but it occurs off-center. Generally, you want to aim to have the ball make contact with the middle of the strings; this way, you will get the best performance and most extended lifespan out of your strings.
Due to repetitive vertical and horizontal shots to the center of the strings, your strings will break down over time due to wear and tear. What will ultimately happen if you do not change your strings often enough, there will likely be a string or two that cut deep enough into others to cause them to snap.
Then comes the other reasons why strings snap, and the first is the mis-hitting of the ball. It will unlikely occur if you do it now and then, but continuously doing so will cause your strings to snap prematurely.
This is why we recommend that you replace your strings several times per year, especially if you are frequently playing and are someone who puts your strings through a lot of abuse.
The cause is not due to the strings being faulty or of poor quality or the stringing job not being done correctly, and it usually has nothing to do with the racquet. The reason comes down to the distribution of the force and absorption thereof by the strings in question. When you hit the ball with the edges of the string bed, there are not as many surrounding strings to aid in absorption.
What Should The Tension Be For Your Squash Racquet Strings?
As we have touched on, the tighter the strings of your racquet, the more control you will have over the ball; however, if you are a more advanced player and are looking to get every edge up on your opponent and want more power, then looser strings will be more ideal for you.
If you have something in the middle, though, and you are a seasoned player, you should manage to achieve both power and control. Ultimately, it is up to you and your style of play and what feels most comfortable for you. It may take some testing to find where your sweet spot lies, but once you find it, you will know with what to stick.
If you opt for more power, you should look to choosing a tension that sits at 22 pounds (10kg), and it is advisable to instead start with higher tension and then work your way down as you improve your game. For greater control of the ball, a slightly higher tension of 28 pounds (13kg) is recommended as it will help you obtain more accurate shots during play.
Can The Shape Of A Squash Racquet Affect The Strings?
The shape of one’s squash racquet most certainly can impact how long your strings last, and this is because, depending on the form, certain racquets will put more tension on specific areas of the string. Tear-drop-shaped racquets are highly popular, but they tend to cause strings to last for shorter spans as the string bed is long, and the strings are taut over a lengthier area.
Although round-headed squash racquets are often less preferred, especially at professional or advanced levels, they mean longer lifespans for strings. This is due to the tension of the strings being more evenly distributed, and resultantly the strings share the load as far as absorbing the force of the ball goes.
Having your racquet restrung when purchasing it is highly advisable, as most manufacturers will kit them out with poor-quality strings. Additionally, if you have not used your racquet in a long while, do not assume that not using it does not mean you should not consider restringing it. And finally, the more you play, the greater the frequency of how often you will need to get new strings.